New occupational regulation scheme for engineers

Posted: 29 March 2022

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A new two-tier regime is being designed that will require all professional engineers to be registered, including engineers working in the major disciplines of civil, electrical, chemical, and mechanical engineering, and for engineers in high-risk disciplines to be licensed.

The new regulatory regime will ensure engineers are competent, behave ethically and are held to account, and in doing so improve the public’s confidence in the profession. While many of New Zealand’s engineers are highly professional, engineering failures in our recent history highlight improvements are needed to the engineering regulatory system.

The new regime will feature registration for anyone providing professional engineering services, and licensing for high-risk disciplines. An Engineers Registration Board will be established to oversee the regime, supported by a Registrar, Complaints Officer and Disciplinary Committee. MBIE will be the default Registrar and Complaints Officer, with the opportunity for other Registrars to be appointed and the Complaints Officer function reassigned.

Registration will make it clearer as to who can practice as an engineer. Currently, there is a lack of clarity around who can call themselves an engineer, and this makes it difficult for consumers to know whether an engineer is qualified to practice.

The new licensing requirements will restrict practice in high-risk engineering disciplines. This second tier of the regime will regulate who can carry out or supervise engineering work in specified practice fields that have a high risk of harm to the public.

These changes are being made based on a public consultation by MBIE in 2021. MBIE received 250 submissions, predominately from the engineering profession. Eighty-four per cent of submitters agreed that there were grounds for intervention, and 81 per cent agreed that all engineers should be subject to occupational regulation. MBIE also received strong support for a code of ethical conduct and for engineers to have professional development obligations.

A bill establishing the scheme is expected to be introduced later in 2022.

More information about the proposed occupational regulation scheme for engineers –

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